Earth Sciences

In ERA 2015, research in earth sciences received a rating of 4 out of 5 – ‘performance above world standard’ – for the discipline overall. Macquarie also received the top rating of 5 – ‘outstanding performance well above world standard’ – for the sub-discipline research areas of atmospheric sciences, and physical geography and environmental geoscience, and a rating of 4 for geochemistry, geology, and geophysics.

These results have firmly established Macquarie’s excellence in physical geography and environmental geoscience research, where it is the only university to be rated 5 in all three ERA evaluations. Additionally, Macquarie places among the top five for atmospheric sciences research.

Major Contributions

Macquarie’s earth and planetary sciences research is enhanced by our leadership of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Core to Crust Fluid Systems (CCFS), led by Distinguished Professor Sue O’Reilly. The Centre’s interdisciplinary approach to studying the solid Earth integrates geochemistry, geodynamics, geophysics and petrology, and has firmly established Macquarie as a world leader in research on the evolution of the lithosphere, the timing of geological events, the nature of the deep Earth and its geodynamics.

Research on the Earth’s surface and atmosphere concentrates on present and future environmental crises, and links short-term environmental changes (event-driven, decadal timescales) to long-term (100-1000 year) processes.

Macquarie’s earth sciences research spans climate science, organic and inorganic contaminant geochemistry, fluvial systems, coastal dynamics, palaeo-environmental reconstructions and links closely with research in environmental sciences.


Macquarie researchers play a major role in the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF), which is leading the research community in a national interdisciplinary effort to generate information for decision makers in government and in vulnerable sectors and communities to manage the risks of climate change impacts.

This discipline also incorporates Risk Frontiers, which is a world leader in natural hazards risk assessment and provides insurers with sophisticated research-based solutions. Applications, which are used globally, include emergency management, flood plain management and land-use planning.


Additionally, the earth sciences discipline is home to:

  • Eight ARC Future Fellows
  • Two fellows of the Australian Academy of Science
  • A Fellow of the American Geophysical Union
  • A Fellow of the Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland
  • Recent winners of the Young Scientist of the Year
  • The Young Tall Poppy science award
  • The Australian Academy of Sciences’ Anton Hales Medal for Research in Earth Sciences
  • The Australian Academy of Sciences’ Nancy Millis Medal for Women in Science

Macquarie University Research Centres

Risk Frontiers

Planetary Research Centre Associate 

Back to the top of this page